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Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself ~ Allen Crawford

April 25, 2014.Oliver.0 Likes.0 Comments


“I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”

These are the opening lines of Walt Whitman‘s universal “Song of Myself”, that epic poem included in his work “Leaves of Grass”. First published as a collection of 12 untitled poems in 1855 at the writers own expense, itgrew to a compilation of over 400 poems before his death in 1892. Whitman spent his entire life writing and re-writing Leaves of Grass, a work that stretched over four decades and resulted in numerous revisions and editions. Song of Myself remains an essential piece of the poet’s life’s work and a powerful ode to the America of his time.

Sophisticated craft

Illustrator Allen Crawford has turned the fifty-two numbered sections of the poem into a sprawling, 256-page work of art. Some fine lettering and fabulous illustrations intermingle in a wonderful way and intend to create a “sensational reading experience” while representing a subtle and “masterful tribute to the Good Gray Poet”.

 {all photos in gallery above courtesy of the artist Allen Crawford}

The book trailer is the result of a creative collaboration characterized by friendship: the video filmed and directed by David Kessler, the score by Ben Warfield and another good friend, Bill, being the dead ringer for the American poet himself. Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself will be published on the 13th of May and looks like a wonderfully crafted contemporary Whitman indeed…

The poem in full length can be found here and audio versions are included in the audio archive here.

{header image by gwynydd michael}

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